Social media marketing is now a must for any business or organization, large or small. But often the skills needed to successfully engage customers and prospects aren’t available in-house. Outsourcing your social media program to a skilled consultant can make a huge difference in your marketing. Costs for social media experts vary; you can pay next to nothing for a young person just out of school, or thousands of dollars a month to an experienced consultant or agency. If you balk at the cost, remember that time equals money, and social media requires a consistent, committed presence that for some businesses can be 24/7/365.
Per hour or monthly retainer
Social media consultants generally charge either by the hour or on a monthly retainer basis. For example, Be Kept Up - Digital Agency of Shelton, Conn., charges $100 an hour.
Launching new accounts
If you need to launch new social media accounts, there will be an upfront cost for your consultant to do so, even though signing up for the actual accounts is free. If you are looking for someone to maintain existing accounts, the cost will be lower.
Number of channels
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat -- there are many platforms for social media, and there are more emerging every year. The more channels you choose to engage in, the more it will cost you.
To be most successful, you’re going to need to populate your social media accounts with content on a consistent basis -- blog posts, photos, video, web content and more. You’ll either need to outsource that production or do it yourself, so keep this cost factor in mind.
It’s one thing to pay someone to administer your accounts; it’s another to develop a social media strategy. Many firms offer these services; some will price it a la carte, some will bundle it into your overall monthly or project charge. If you’d like to administer in-house, you can also pay for a one-time audit of your social media strategy by a firm or consultant, who can then provide training to your employees.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow you to go beyond "organic" non-paid community building by offering paid advertising. This will be an added expense, not only for the advertising itself but, in some cases, for the agency or consultant to administer it.
Focus on one social media channel, especially one that best suits your needs and audience. You’ll save money, and you’ll likely be more effective on that particular channel because you’ll be devoting more resources to it.